Double World Snowboard Halfpipe champion and current FIS Crystal Globe winner Scotty James was described in March 2017 as probably ‘the most popular Australian sports star in America’.
Now based in Colorado, USA, but still calling Melbourne home, James has come a long way from the 15-year-old who was the youngest male of all competing nations at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. At the time, he was also Australia's youngest male Olympian in 50 years.
James’ first snowboard was a $10 display board from Vancouver as a gift from his father and was the only board small enough for him to ride.
He was competing by age six and by ten he was beating the older kids, then moved from racing into Halfpipe and his first international event as a 14-year-old at the 2008 Europa Cup in Saas Fee, Switzerland.
In 2010, Scotty James was a last-minute addition to the Australian Olympic Team for the Vancouver Games when teammate Nate Johnstone was ruled out of the Games with an injury.
James rushed to the World Cup in Stoneham, Canada to achieve the top 19 result required for eligibility to replace Johnstone. His 15th place secured a ticket to Vancouver, where he produced a fantastic performance beyond his years to finish 21st.
After Vancouver and later in 2010 James competed in the World Junior Halfpipe and Slopestyle Championships finishing 15th and 16th respectively.
From early 2011 to 2012 all his World Cup results in Halfpipe, Slopestyle and Big Air climbed into top ten territory – at a time when he was growing taller.
At the 2013 World Championships in Stoneham, Canada, Scotty notched a career best performance of sixth in the Halfpipe – and also placed 16th in Slopestyle.
Competing at the last event of the 2013/14 season before the Sochi Games, James won his first World Cup medal - bronze in the Snowboard Halfpipe, plus two top-ten finishes at other World Cups in the season. His results and points left James as the highest points scorer, earning him the Overall World Cup Title for Snowboard Halfpipe and his first FIS Crystal Globe.
Scotty also put down one of the best performances of his career to date at the X-Games in Aspen, CO, USA, coming in fourth.
At the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games he was one of a handful of athletes to compete in both Slopestyle and Halfpipe – placing 16th in Slopestyle and 21st in Halfpipe.
The emerging threat the young Australian could be to USA’s Halfpipe King and Vancouver gold medallist Shaun White came in 2015 when James won the 2015 World Championships in Kreischberg, Austria.
A huge boost to James career in 2016 was coming away with a bronze medal from the Aspen, Colorado X-Games in January 2016 but there was more to come.
In mid-December 2016 James began his World Cup season with a fourth at Copper Mountain, USA, then in January 2017 - silver in Laax, Switzerland.
January 26, 2017 – Australia Day – was a day to celebrate when Scotty James won the Winter X Games Superpipe Final in Aspen, Colorado in a field stacked with the world’s best riders including Shaun White (USA Olympic Gold Medalist 2010) and Iouri Podladitchkov (Russian Olympic Gold Medallist 2014).
At the Olympic Test Event and World Cup in Phoenix PyeongChang in February 2017, James again rode brilliantly winning gold in emphatic style and under immense pressure.
In March 2017, fresh from his World Cup victory in Korea James went on to Sierra Nevada, Spain to defend his World Championship title and be awarded his second FIS Crystal Globe.
At the 2017 Ski & Snowboard Australia Awards, Scotty James was jointly named with Mogul Skier Britt Cox as Athlete of the Year. Both World Champions, both FIS Crystal Globe winners.
PyeongChang 2018 awaits.
Q & A
Proudest moment: Representing Australia at the Olympic Winter Games
Best sporting memory from 2016/17 season: Landing the first and second runs at the World Championship and having my family at the bottom of the pipe at XGames after the Gold medal.
I began my sport when... I was three. I am the youngest in my family and I've always been chasing my elder brothers and sister around the mountain. We're all keen winter sports people.
When I am not training or competing I am reading some aviation books or taking photos.
I enjoy my sport because I get to test myself against the best riders in the world and I get a big high from the adrenaline day to day in the Halfpipe.
Education: Southwood Boys Grammar
Favourite international competition: Laax Open. The pipe is always awesome to ride and the scenery is amazing
Favourite Food: Sushi
Favourite Music: Anything that makes me feel good, 50's, 70's and any kind of Rock N' Roll.
Favourite other sport to watch or play: Formula 1, Golf
Favourite sporting team: The Bombers
My hero is: All Australians who are out giving it their all, on whatever their chosen stage is.
Sponsors: Red Bull, Volcom, Oakley, Falls Creek, Union Bindings, 20Four
Childhood Ambition: To be a pilot
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